The Open Compute Project Foundation recently announced results from Facebook’s attempts to build an efficient data center at the lowest possible cost. The foundation claims to have reduced the cost of building a data center by 24 percent, and improved ongoing efficiency by 38 percent versus state of the art data centers.

Open Compute Project design specifications
The Open Compute Project foundation released design specifications for servers and data center technology earlier this week.

The servers themselves fit into a chassis that is slightly taller than a 1.5U standard server chassis. The servers can use either an Intel or AMD motherboard. The v2.0 Intel specification provides double the compute density as v1.0 using two next generation Sandy Bridge based Intel processors per board. The v2.0 AMD specification also doubles the compute density with support for two AMD G34 Mangy Cours or Interlagos processors per board.

Open Compute servers are racked into three adjoining 42U racks, dubbed Triplets. Each rack column contains 30 Open Compute Project servers, for a total of 90 servers per Triplet. Each rack column has two top of rack switches.

A battery pack rack cabinet sits between a pair of Triplets providing DC power in the event of loss of AC power.

Bringing deep data center engineering skills to the masses
By releasing the cost savings figures, and more importantly, the underlying hardware specifications for the motherboards, power supply and chassis, the foundation hopes to bring efficiency and lower cost data centers to companies that don’t have the engineering depth of companies such as Facebook, Google, or Amazon.

Facebook deserves kudos for their work on the project. Getting together a board of directors including Andy Bechtolsheim from Arista Networks, Don Duet from Goldman Sachs, Mark Roenigk from Rackspace and Jason Waxman from Intel couldn’t have been easy. Although, cost reduction and efficiency figures upwards of 20 percent must have attracted attention from prospective board members and the long list of hardware, software and institutional partners, including the likes of Dell, Intel, Huawei, Red Hat, Netflix, and North Carolina Sate University, to name but a few.

Nothing to sell here? Ok, but where’s the certification?
At the Open Compute Project Summit this week, Andy Bechtolsheim was quoted saying “Open Compute Foundation is not a marketing org. There’s nothing to sell here”.

While the foundation has nothing to sell, it’s critical that hardware vendors quickly release Open Compute Project certified hardware. There isn’t a certification process for hardware as yet, but this is something the foundation needs to work on immediately.

As GigaOM reports, “when the effort launched in April Dell and Hewlett-Packard both showed off servers that incorporated some of the elements of Open Compute.” The term “some elements” should be worrisome to the Open Compute Project and to potential buyers. Otherwise “Open Compute Project based” hardware will proliferate without any standard comparison across vendor offerings as vendors rush to take advantage of the Open Compute Project’s buzz with existing offerings under a different marketing banner.

Silicon Mechanics, a rack mount server manufacturer and member of the Open Compute foundation, announced an Open Compute Triplet based on the Open Compute Project specifications. A 90 compute node Triplet with entry level processors, RAM and disk and without any operating system or software starts at $287,755 and can grow to $2 million and above.

Good progress so far, more work to do
In a post at Opencompute.org, Frank Frankovsky, Director of Technical Operations at Facebook and Chairman/President of the Open Compute Project foundation wrote “… what began a few short months ago as an audacious idea — what if hardware were open? — is now a fully formed industry initiative, with a clear vision, a strong base to build from and significant momentum. We are officially on our way.”

Yes, the Open Compute Project foundation is officially on its way.

You’re encouraged to read through the design specification and compare to your current or future data center plans. However, until the Open Compute Project foundation comes out with a certification process, buyers are urged to ask vendors which parts of the product align with the Open Compute Project specifications and which parts are outside of the specifications. In some ways, it’s buyer beware when it comes to products claiming to offer Open Compute Project-based products, for now at least.

I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

I’ve been on the road with clients and partners of late and one thing I can attest to, other than the fact that trains are a much more civilized form of travel versus planes, is that enterprise interest in cloud greatly outpaces actual cloud investments.

The second thing I can attest to is, at the highest levels of companies, there’s a realization that today’s approach to IT is suboptimal. Cloud computing is supposed to help, but C-level folks aren’t convinced. Why? Because IT is stuck in the weeds and still isn’t thinking about what end users care about, and how to serve end users through cloud computing.

IT values infrastructure, while end users value applications
Applications have value to end users; All the storage, networking, compute, operating systems, hypervisors and middleware that underpin these applications are, from an end user standpoint, irrelevant. We in IT find these piece parts incredibly relevant, sometimes even sexy. Many careers in IT are spent on going deep on one of these piece parts, and many services hours are spent integrating products from each piece part into a platform to run the application, you know, the thing the end user cares about.

It pains us as IT professionals to not have control over each and every layer of the stack I mention above. We want not only control; we want to tinker with each layer of the stack. Vendors provide best practices for their layer of the stack and ask us to follow these guidelines. Sometimes we do, but most times we think our particular environment is so different than others that we need these additional 5 configuration tweaks. We love the control.

Giving up a little control for a lot of benefit
I couldn’t fathom why any self respecting IT professional would buy an iPhone. Sure it was beautiful and easy to use, but could I install additional memory? Could I change the battery? Could I run any application I want? Simply put, would I have the same level of control over the device as I’d become accustomed to.

Some developers asked whether they had the same level of control and flexibility as they were accustomed to with Web and Windows applications when building an iOS application.

I couldn’t do any of those things above, and developers had to live within the confines of iOS APIs.

And yet, just look at how much better life is for end users and iOS developers as a result of Apple saying “no” to the degree of control, configuration and tinkering we’re all so accustomed to within any IT organization.

Cloud vendors still suck in IT weeds, for how much longer?
Try applying lessons from the iPhone to today’s cloud offerings. To date, the most successful cloud provider, Amazon, enables IT to remain stuck in the weeds, with virtually all of the control and complexity they’re used to. Is it any wonder that C-level folks aren’t rushing to approve a “cloud project”?

OpenStack, the open source cloud computing platform, is firmly rooted in the infrastructure as a service layer of the cloud computing spectrum. For all its aspirations, OpenStack doesn’t remove the complexity of piecing together storage, networking, compute resources and hypervisors from varying vendors.

Nebula, an OpenStack based startup that I’ve previously covered, tries to simplify the IT infrastructure piece through an appliance offering. But there’s still a lot of work to provision a platform for the things your end users, and your C-level managers, care about, applications.

In announcing Oracle’s public cloud offerings, Larry Ellison called out Salesforce.com as the “Roach Motel” of cloud services. While true, to a degree, what Larry neglected to mention is the immense value that Salesforce.com is providing to developers, and ultimately, end users, by providing a platform for applications. Sure the applications have to fit within the APIs supported by Salesforce.com. The fact that Salesforce.com’s platform as a service is not standards based, as Ellison pointed out in a roundabout fashion, should not be applied to platform as a service cloud offerings in general.

Make no mistake that enterprise vendors, many of whom are bringing out enterprise cloud offerings, are going to take a page out of the Apple playbook. In fact, some already are. IBM talks about workload optimized systems. Oracle talks about hardware and software engineered together.

These offerings take away much of the time and challenges of building IT environments from piece parts. These environments fast track the delivery of applications to end users. Some IT departments will resist these pre-integrated products, especially in the cloud arena. As I mentioned, we IT folk like control. The fact that an order of magnitude too much control leads to complexity and gets in the way of providing applications to end users is often an after thought. For how much longer?

I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

Windows 8 demos at Microsoft’s BUILD developer and partner conference have been very compelling, inspiring even. But nothing about the UI will change the underlying challenges with Microsoft’s open ecosystem. Users will still have to deal with frustrating experiences, even if the blue screen of death is replaced with a blue frowny face.
Windows 8 looks promising
Our own Galen Gruman’s review of Windows 8 is quite glowing. Galen goes out on a limb and suggests that HP’s decision to jettison WebOS could have been due to Windows 8:

But if Windows 8 is nearly as good as the demos look, Microsoft could very well win the mobile wars, despite years of failures in Windows tablets and mediocre smartphone efforts. If Hewlett-Packard CEO Léo Apotheker had seen a preview of Windows 8 tablets, that would explain why he suddenly killed the WebOS-based TouchPad tablet last month.

Other reviews of Windows 8 have been cautiously optimistic that Microsoft may finally have an OS to combat Apple.

The only problem, software alone is not enough. The real test for Microsoft is how Windows 8 will demo on the hundreds or thousands of devices, PC and mobile, that will be “optimized” to run Windows 8. I stress optimized, because every hardware vendor will play that card, when in fact, no piece of software can be optimized for everything. That’s where marketing and reality depart.

Configurability versus design choices
John Gruber wrote a thought provoking post about Apple’s long term sustainable advantage residing not solely on their design, but their supply chain. The two points are related, and will impact Microsoft’s windows 8 strategy, especially as they grow beyond the desktop to tablets and mobile devices with a single operating system.

Gruber wrote:

Design is largely about making choices. The PC hardware market has historically focused on three factors: low prices, tech specs, and configurability. Configurability is another way of saying that you, the buyer, get a bigger say in the design of your computer. (Bright points out, for example, that Lenovo gives you the option of choosing which Wi-Fi adaptor goes into your laptop.) Apple offers far fewer configurations. Thus MacBooks are, to most minds, subjectively better-designed — but objectively, they’re more designed. Apple makes more of the choices than do PC makers.

I’ve been thinking of this more and more as part of my day job, and I can fully understand why making choices are hard for vendors. Clients tell us that they want to make choices, because a lack of choice can sometimes lead to vendor lock-in. But these same clients demonstrate higher satisfaction with products which have been, in Gruber’s words, more designed, and hence present fewer choices to buyers.

Microsoft’s issue with Windows is that their OEM partners offer a degree of configurability that, on the surface is helpful, but turns out to hurt user satisfaction with both Windows and the hardware OEM.

I hadn’t made this connection until I started to use Windows 7 in a VMware Fusion virtual machine on a new MacBook Air. Yes, I know, the horror. But I need to use Windows for work and will be travelling with the need for my work and personal machine. This was easier than lugging around two physical machines.

Even with the overhead of a hypervisor and the relatively mediocre Intel core i5 CPU, my work hypervisor, is a delight to use. I’ve had no issues with driver mismatches or blue screens of death. Windows startups, shutdowns and resume from sleep are speedy, thanks to the SSD drives. I actually like using Windows again. More importantly, my PC is no longer getting in the way of my productivity.

For once, a hardware provider that’s actually enhancing satisfaction with Windows. Unfortunately, Apple isn’t a Microsoft hardware partner.

What’s Microsoft to do?
It’s difficult to know how Microsoft will address this issue going forward.

Microsoft could get very, very, restrictive about configurations and testing before allowing hardware OEMs to use Windows 8. This would require the same level of testing for fixes and upgrades to drivers used by the hardware configuration. However, considering the billion odd users of Microsoft Windows, with vastly different amounts to spend on PCs, a very restrictive policy will be at odds with Microsoft’s business goals.

Increased restrictions could encourage Windows OEMs to build with Linux OS, or more likely, Google’s Chrome OS. Microsoft is in a difficult spot of being the undisputed market share leader, but at risk of market share loss to Apple at the high end and Chrome and Linux at the low end. Until recently, the high end and low end competition was theoretical at best, but no longer.

It’ll be interesting to see what Microsoft and its partners will do if Apple uses its supply chain and lower configurability to offer a much lower price point entry to their desktops and laptops. In some respects, the iPad is doing just this as it eats into existing PC share.

Whether Windows 8 will be enough to stop the share loss is an open question. The real question however is how well Windows 8 will be configured and optimized for the hardware you’ll be asked to buy. Keep that in mind as you purchase new machines for your teams and employees.

I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

HP announced intentions to take on Amazon in the public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) arena. However, the beta announcement has little to no information about why anyone should consider HP Cloud over Amazon and other public cloud IaaS providers.

Little to differentiate HP Cloud Services thus far
HP’s recently launched beta of HP Cloud Services provides users access to two initial offerings, HP Cloud Compute and HP Cloud Object Storage. HP describes the beta as an opportunity to try these two services “through our easy to use, web-based UI on top of open, RESTful APIs, based on HP’s world-class hardware and software, and OpenStack technology.”

These two cloud offerings compete directly with Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Storage Service (S3) cloud services.

In describing HP Cloud Compute or HP Cloud Object Storage, HP makes no claims about why a company, ISV or developer should be interested in HP’s public cloud, over Amazon’s AWS cloud or other alternatives.

Enterprise-grade SLAs, management and monitoring, or hybrid cloud support, or differentiated pricing would all have been areas that HP could have used to differentiate HP Cloud Services.

But no. Instead, there is a seemingly random point about the HP Cloud being based on OpenStack technology. A point that received a lot of press, mind you. But let’s look at the reality here. HP joined the nascent OpenStack project on July 27, 2011. Knowing a thing or two about launching products within a large company, it’s very difficult to believe that HP could have altered their HP Cloud offerings in a meaningful fashion in a month.

HP’s cloud blog does make the OpenStack effort a little more real. HP’s Emil Sayegh writes: “HP developers are already active and many of our ideas will be shared at the upcoming OpenStack Design Summit and Conference, of which we are a sponsor.”

At this point, the OpenStack linkage with HP Cloud Services seems like a distraction. Hopefully this will change over time.

Why HP didn’t make more reference to its monitoring and management capabilities, areas where HP could clearly differentiate itself with Amazon AWS, is an open question. It could be that HP is targeting the broad market, and is less interested in enterprises at this time. The fact that HP is requiring a credit card for billing could be a tip here.

Asking clients interested in public clouds why they’re not using Amazon AWS today, I’ve often heard responses to the effect: “because my IT department doesn’t run on a credit card.”

Billing through a credit card absolutely lowers the bar to entry to HP Cloud Services. But it also turns of enterprise IT departments.

HP’s silence on pricing poses barrier to entry
Staying on the pricing thought, HP states the following on its website:

Stay tuned for information on pricing. We’ll communicate more before we begin charging for services.

Developers and enterprise IT should be concerned about devoting time to HP Cloud Services before pricing is known. It’s curious that HP decided to launch the beta without any pricing details just weeks after Google faced developer backlash after substantially raising prices once App Engine left preview mode.

Considering HP’s enterprise software and hardware heritage one could argue that HP will price higher than Amazon’s AWS, but offer higher value to enterprises. However, the focus on broad based developers, and requiring a credit card access to the beta, suggests aggressive pricing versus Amazon’s AWS. We’ll have to wait for additional information from HP to know for sure. If that makes you uncomfortable before approving proof of concept usage of HP Cloud Services, you should be.

Ask for clarity before devoting your time
Taking my vendor hat off for a minute, it’s absolutely within your rights as buyers and users to ask vendors, HP in this case, for clarity before making investment decisions. You and your teams have too much on your plates to work on proof of concepts without understanding how your business will benefit and what it’ll cost.

I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

As with any new trend, hyped up by vendors and pundits, developers and CIOs interested in cloud must invest their time and budgets cautiously. Even with all the great new product and vision announcements at VMworld and DreamForce this week, two announcements will make it more difficult for developers and CIOs to leap into their next cloud investment with confidence; Google, VMware and Salesforce.com, three vendors vying for cloud leadership status, share the blame.

Preview pricing has no place in the enterprise
Google products are well known for their beta status well into their public life cycles. The beta, or preview, moniker is fun and cutesy, until you’re trying to establish an enterprise foothold, which Google App Engine is trying to do.

The problem with betas and previews, aside from the lack of SLA support for enterprise production workloads, is the uncertain pricing associated with pre-GA products and offerings.

This point became crystal clear when Google announced new pricing for its App Engine cloud platform. The Hacker News and Google Groups message boards dedicated to App Engine are filled with developers complaining about dramatic, anywhere from 50 percent to over 2800 percent, cost increases. Speaking of the individual facing a 2800 percent cost increase, he writes: “we are moving 22 servers away. Already started the process to move to AWS“.

Amazon Web Services appears to be the beneficiary of Google’s new pricing announcement. Enterprise developer and CIO confidence in using pre-GA cloud services definitely take a hit with Google’s new pricing.

Complex cloud pricing poses a barrier for enterprises
It’s been said before that Google, for all its greatness, just doesn’t understand the enterprise software market; take a look at the current App Engine pricing model for proof.

Pricing per usage of bandwidth or compute instances is increasingly well understood by IT. In fact, these were the key elements of the original App Engine pricing model when the service was still in preview mode.

Pricing for five different API uses, as Google has introduced with the new App Engine pricing, is overly complex at best. Does the priced API model better reflect Google’s costs, and provide developers and CIOs an opportunity to reduce their costs by using cost effective APIs? Yes. But it’s also confusing and complex. In some respects, the new pricing model feels like Google let really smart engineers, or actuaries, set the pricing model as a fun math exercise.

For enterprises the dramatically increased pricing and complexity of App Engine’s new pricing model will become the cautionary tale to those pushing an enterprise to adopt a cloud offering until the pricing and pricing metrics are established.

Cloud leaders aim to control the entire technology stack
The second announcement, or lack thereof, that will affect cloud adoption is the news that “VMforce is dead”, to borrow words from Gartner analyst Yefim Natis.

A little over a year ago, Salesforce.com and VMware made news by announcing a strategic alliance to let VMware and Spring developers build and deploy applications onto Salesforce.com’s Force.com cloud platform.

Yefim broke the news about VMforce:

Yesterday at VMworld conference Tod Nielsen, a VMware executive leading its platform efforts, had announced that VMforce will not be delivered, CloudFoundry technology will not run in the salesforce.com data center and users of CloudFoundry.com will be enabled to access database.com in some unspecified way as a compensating feature. Today Byron Sebastian, salesforce.com platform executive, confirmed it. VMforce is dead.

Yefim repeats a long-standing Gartner maxim, “the only real partnerships are acquisitions”. Salesforce.com went out an acquired Heroku to replace the VMware capabilities in VMforce.

Platform vendors, such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP, control the entire technology stack underlying their platforms. As Yefim points out, this strategy will be replicated in the cloud arena. It’ll happen because cloud vendors, such as Salesforce.com, are vying to join the ranks of platform vendors.

Enterprises and developers relying on cloud providers whose platforms are a collection of partnerships and strategic alliances are walking a slippery slope.

When these partnerships break down, developer and IT investments in applications that relied on these partnerships need to be migrated, rewritten or thrown away, resulting in wasted time, effort and money.

Summary
Enterprise developers and CIOs attending or paying attention to the news from VMworld or DreamForce 2011 have lots of exciting products and services to consider spending their time and money on. However, they’ll be weary of doing so without clear and long term reliable pricing and using platforms that a single vendor can deliver. This higher level of scrutiny is good for the cloud market, for clients and vendors.

I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

With a string of recent distribution and collaboration announcements, it’s time to look at Cloud Foundry’s progress since a beta announcement in April 2012.

VMware harvests fruits of SpringSource Acquisition
EMC VMware acquired SpringSource a little over two years ago. At the time, I wrote that the hype surrounding the deal greatly overshadowed the real opportunities that SpringSource brought to VMware.

After re-reading my original analysis, I still stand by the post. Even today, while SpringSource technology underpins VMware products like vFabric and Cloud Foundry, neither could be viewed as helping to move VMware’s revenue needle in a noticeable fashion.

VMware CEO Paul Martiz confirmed this during VMware’s 2Q2011 earnings call:

…as well as we continue to invest in the Spring Framework and the combination of the Spring Framework with Cloud Foundry. But I think it would be fair to say we’re still plowing the ground there. And we expect those investments to pay off well over the longer term, but we’re still in the development phases of the market.

Considering the typical five year payback periods used to evaluate acquisitions, all I can think is that VMware has a busy three years ahead of itself to justify the nearly $420 million valuation VMware paid for SpringSource. That said, with SpringSource technology, VMware is in a significantly better position to become grow beyond a hypervisor vendor, into a platform vendor with the likes of IBM, Microsoft and Oracle.

Whether VMware can pull it off, is still to be seen.

VMware expands Cloud Foundry distribution channels
This week, VMware announced deals with Canonical, Dell and enStratus to significantly expand distribution channels for Cloud Foundry technology.

Of these, the Canonical deal appears to be most interesting. Cloud Foundry can benefit from Ubuntu’s leading share of Linux cloud and virtualization deployments.

In explaining the collaboration with Canonical, VMware staff wrote:

Now starting with the 11.10 release both the (Cloud Foundry) VMC Client, and VCAP server functionality will be available directly as Ubuntu packages created by Canonical. With over 20 million active desktop users and a strong IaaS server OS popularity it represents an important milestone for the open source distribution of Cloud Foundry, and is just the beginning of an ongoing collaboration with Canonical. Having the VMC client pre-installed and ready on millions of developer desktops makes a Cloud Foundry app deployment just a few commands away for anyone using Ubuntu.

Cloud Foundry interest expanding, but not yet a game changer
Against this backdrop of potential opportunity for Cloud Foundry adoption is the reality of usage and interest to date.

During VMware’s 2Q2011 earning release, VMware’s prepared comments highlighted 25,000 developers signing up for Cloud Foundry. That certainly is a respectable number of interested users in three months since the beta announcement. It will be interesting to watch this figure over time. It’s not uncommon for new products to gain interest when first announced, only to trail off in the long run.

It is interesting however that the various Cloud Foundry Git repositories on GitHub are “watched”, a proxy for interest level amongst GitHub users, by fewer than 800 users, while leading repositories count well over 5000 watchers.

Of note, interest in the Cloud Foundry project targeted at Java applications is less than 20 percent of the interest of the overall Cloud Foundry project.

Considering the revenue that Java attracts from enterprises, even in the face of languages such as Ruby, or PHP, Cloud Foundry’s growth into enterprise accounts could be less than a smooth one.

Looking at Google search trends at open source based platform as a service offerings, VMware Cloud Foundry, Red Hat OpenShift, Amazon Beanstalk, and CloudBees self titled platform, it’s clear that the market is still wide open, with each offering in the 15 to 25 percent range.

Add Google App Engine into the comparison, and interest in Google App Engine dwarfs the interest in Cloud Foundry and others by an order of magnitude.

I purposefully did not include the established platform vendors, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle in the comparison above. As much attention as Google App Engine has received, and offerings like Cloud Foundry are getting today, they’ve yet to crack the enterprise market in a meaningful way.

In conclusion, it appears that Cloud Foundry is making some good progress, but the road to enterprise acceptance, adoption and revenue is well ahead of it.

I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies, or opinions.”

Google announced Chromebooks  just three months ago to wildly positive and equally negative punditry. Evaluating recent product announcements and business growth for Chromebooks, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Google has a winner with Chromebooks. If you haven’t been following Chromebooks closely, you’d better start.

Chromebooks are a disruptive innovation
I have previously countered ZDnet’s Ed Bott’s claims that Chromebooks aren’t Windows killers. Here are of two key points I raised:

1. Google’s pricing strategy is a step toward IT as a service. By reducing the cost per notebook and business applications to approximately $35 per user per month, Google was reducing the total cost of ownership to less than 20 percent of today’s cost of acquiring, maintaining and supporting the IT infrastructure needed per knowledge worker.

2. All apps that some users need can run in a browser. Simply put, a Chromebook is not for every employee. However, a majority of knowledge workers, specialized workers or mobile users could use a Chromebook with little to no impact to their workflow.

Google continues to make Chromebooks enterprise ready
Google’s claims Chromebooks are designed to get better and faster over time through software updates.

Google recently announced the availability of new features that support their claim of Chromebooks “getting better over time”.

VPN support and Secure WiFi have been added to the latest Chrome OS release, which is the operating system software that runs inside a Chromebook.

With these two additions, businesses that protect access to their wireless network and restrict remote access to their internal network – that would be virtually every business I know of – can now consider a Chromebook in their enterprise.

It’s a little surprising that Chromebooks were targeted at businesses without support for WiFi security at a minimum. VPN support would be a close second in basic requirements for a business seeking to use Chromebooks with mobile employees.

That said, Google did close these two holes in three months since first shipping Chromebooks for businesses.

Google also announced a Tech Preview of Citrix Receiver for Chrome OS, which would address users who need to run existing applications not suited for a traditional browser. For instance, Google and Citrix show Adobe Photoshop on a Chromebook through Citrix Receiver.

I’m still convinced that this is a checkbox feature versus something Google truly expects broad adoption of. For instance, the Citrix Receiver Tech Preview currently counts 38 users on the Chrome Web Store.

Chromebook customer traction is encouraging
While the pace of feature additions to Chromebooks in encouraging, Google’s client references for Chromebooks are even more impressive.

Google groups client references into several categories that could resonate with potential business buyers.

IT departments have to contend with the challenge of supporting branch locations. As Google rightly points out, onsite IT support at some branch locations can be expensive and impractical. Google now counts the likes of AmericanAirlines, RubyTuesday and Jason’s deli as clients using Chromebooks to reduce the cost of IT at branch locations.

Another key target user group is specialized workers. Virtually every business has a set of users whose IT needs don’t expand beyond email, and access to intranet and web-based applications. These users are perfect trial groups for rolling out Chromebooks at your company.

Salesforce.com, Groupon, Logitech and InterContinental Hotels Groups are key clients using Chromebooks to meet the needs of specialized workers.

Finally, Virgin America, National Geographic, the City of Orlando, and Konica Minolta are amongst reference clients using Chromebooks for mobile employees. Again, I find it interesting that these organizations adopted Chromebooks for mobile users before VPN and secure WiFi capabilities were added to Chrome OS.

Your organization could very likely find mobile users, specialized users and branch office deployments that could benefit from Chromebook usage.

With the strong list of client references Google has already collected, what are you waiting for?

I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies, or opinions.”

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